CANCELED: Pernicious Polarization and How it Harms Democracies

Polarized polities around the world are suffering democratic erosion. In this seminar Jennifer McCoy will present a volume published with Murat Somer based on a comparative case study of the emergence of pernicious polarization, meaning the division of societies into mutually distrustful “Us vs. Them” camps.

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It seeks to determine the causes, consequences and solutions to polarized societies around the world, including Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Hungary, Greece, Bangladesh, Philippines and the United States.

McCoy and Somer argue that pernicious polarization is not attributable to any specific underlying social or political cleavage nor any particular institutional make-up. Instead, pernicious polarization arises when political entrepreneurs pursue their political objectives by using polarizing strategies, such as mobilizing voters with divisive, demonizing discourse and exploiting existing grievances, and opposing political elites then reciprocate with similarly polarizing tactics or fail to develop effective nonpolarizing responses.

About the speaker

Jennifer McCoy, PhD, is a political science professor at Georgia State University.  She served as director of the Global Studies Institute (2015-16).  Prior to this, Dr. McCoy served as Director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program (1998-2015), leading projects on democratic strengthening, mediation and dialogue, and hemispheric cooperation. A specialist on democratization and polarization, mediation and conflict prevention, election processes and election observation, and Latin American politics, Dr. McCoy has authored or edited six books and dozens of articles.  Her latest volume is Polarizing Polities: A Global Threat to  Democracy, co-edited with Murat Somer (2019).   She teaches courses on democratic erosion, comparative democratization, international norms, and Latin American politics.

At The Carter Center, Dr. McCoy created the group of Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter; directed The Carter Center’s projects on Mediation and Monitoring in Venezuela 2002-2004, Ecuador-Colombia Dialogue Group 2008-2010, and U.S.-Andean Dialogue Group 2010-2011; led over a dozen election monitoring missions and organized former President Carter’s historic trips to Cuba in 2002 and 2011. She served as a mediator in Venezuela, and between Ecuador and Colombia, and published with Francisco Diez an analysis of the Venezuelan conflict in International Mediation in Venezuela (USIP Press, 2011).

McCoy is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations; member of the International Women’s Forum; and co-chair of the Atlanta chapter of the Scholar’s Strategy Network.

Published Mar. 9, 2020 6:16 AM - Last modified Mar. 11, 2020 5:29 PM